When you travel, it can sometimes be hard to keep in touch with home, especially if you’re traveling out of the country. I’m not about to just cut off all communication for a week or two just because I don’t want to pay $.60 for a text message or much more than that per phone call minute. Here are the ways I stay in touch with home when I travel.
You could rely on email, but if you’re traveling solo or actually want to speak to a human being, that’s a bit impersonal, though you can also email people in addition to emailing them all the fun details of your days. I tend to do both, but I like for people to know that I haven’t died, and I want to see my dog while I’m away for a week or more.
Instead of texting, I use Voxer. Not only is it free, but it works off WiFi, so it can push through your “texts” when you have a signal, but will timestamp it when you actually sent it. It will also tell you when your message was delivered and when it was read. If the recipient clicks on it, can see exactly where it was sent from. This way you save money and people know you’re alive, and if you go missing, they know where you were last. Voxer allows you to send/receive messages, videos and voice recordings, and it’s free, unless you upgrade for more capabilities. You could use WhatsApp instead. I just didn’t think it was as user-friendly.
Yes, I’m old, apparently, because the kids all snicker when you mention Skype instead of Facetime. One, I don’t have an iPhone, and two, I don’t want one. Skype is mostly free, easy to use, and allows you to actually see another person, even if you think you look like a hideous beast on camera like I do.
Trying to figure out a time to talk to someone when there’s a very significant time difference can be difficult, but I generally send a Voxer to my mom (or whoever I’m going to call), to let them know when I’m planning to Skype, so we can have the app open. I use it on my phone, so I can give them a walk thru of my Airbnb. Ha!
This doesn’t strictly help you stay in touch, but it does let people know where you are at any given time. I check in to most places I go, because I like a record of things I did, in case I forget, but I also like my friends to know where I am, just in case. If I’m away and I don’t check in somewhere for a day, they probably know there’s something wrong. Plus, Swarm check-ins are fun and you earn points and stickers.
This is another way for me to allow people to keep tabs on me. I upload my entire itinerary to TripIt, including my flights and where I’m staying, so I have something with all my confirmation numbers and addresses and phone numbers in one place (which also saves paper) and then I share it with one or two other people who like to know what I’m doing and who I want to check in with.
These are just a few of my favorite apps, but they are especially useful for keeping up with people wherever you are. If you have a favorite app to stay in touch with home, I want to hear about it. Let me know about it in the comments.